the staff of the Ridgewood blog
Newark NJ, after spending the better part of the last 2 years attacking everything that is “Trump”, New Jersey officials failed to take any action to fix Newark’s water problems . Several other New Jersey cities are currently facing a similar fate.
But in a joint statement issued Sunday afternoon, Gov. Phil Murphy and Mayor Ras Baraka said safe drinking water was critically important and called on the federal government to help.
The EPA tested and found high levels of lead with filters in two residences in Newark. The agency strongly encouraged the city of Newark to take immediate action. DEP Commissioner McCabe responded to EPA that, “EPA has not offered any support in providing bottled water to the city or in distributing that bottled water. Given the concerns EPA has here, we hope that EPA will offer assistance promptly.”
“EPA’s role is to do oversight for the state of New Jersey. They acted appropriately in that role in raising the red flag about high levels of lead in Newark’s drinking water and that filters were not working. Newark went from the Brita to Poland Spring solution and none of them worked. It is New Jersey’s ability to address these concerns and problems raised. We have the delegated authority to implement the Clean Water Act and Safe Drinking Act from the EPA. New Jersey should be working with our Congressional Delegation to get more money just like the state itself has failed miserably to fund money to get lead out of our water. said Jeff Tittel, Director of the New Jersey Sierra Club.
Lead levels in Newark’s water supply tested at 52 parts per billion between January 1 and June 30 of 2019. These are the highest levels ever recorded in Newark, an increase from 48 parts per billion during the last 6 months of 2018. Newark officials say orthophosphate corrosion control systems should begin to reduce the lead levels over the second half of 2019.
“The latest readings showed lead levels of 52 parts per billion for the first 6 months of 2019 in Newark. Over the same period last year, the levels were 18 parts per billion. That is an alarming increase that threatens the people of Newark. Newark has started to replace residential service lines, but that will take 8 years for only 15,000 lines. Lead lateral lines also need to be replaced. Even a strong program to reduce lead takes time to work, and people will be impacted before that happens,” said Tittel.
Lead abatement funding from the state has suffered for years. Gov. Christie regularly used lead abatement money to fill budget gaps. Gov. Murphy has diverted money that could have gone toward fixing pipes in Newark to other sources. The result has put people in many communities at continuing higher risk of lead poisoning and illness from lead in their drinking water.
“Moving from filters to bottle water while pointing fingers sounds a lot like Michigan’s DEP when they had the Flint water crisis. It seems New Jersey is turning into them. Instead of fixing the problem and holding people accountable, McCabe is pointing fingers.,” said Jeff Tittel, Director of the New Jersey Sierra Club. “Thousands of children are diagnosed with lead poisoning in New Jersey each year, over 3,5000 across the state. Adults face health risks as well, including increased danger of high blood pressure and kidney damage. Instead of protecting the children of Newark and people impacted by lead in their drinking water, McCabe is diverting attention away from New Jersey’s responsibility.”